Ceramic Arts Network https://ceramicartsnetwork.org Fri, 28 Jul 2017 17:51:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Using Colored Clay and Etching Techniques to Explore Patterns and Textures on Functional Pottery https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-supplies/pottery-clay/using-colored-clay-and-etching-techniques-to-explore-patterns-and-textures-on-functional-pottery/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-supplies/pottery-clay/using-colored-clay-and-etching-techniques-to-explore-patterns-and-textures-on-functional-pottery/#comments Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:00:31 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-supplies/pottery-clay/using-colored-clay-and-etching-techniques-to-explore-patterns-and-textures-on-functional-pottery/ Debra Oliva uses different colored clays and etches surface designs to add depth to her pots. The results look like a Samurai warrior's suit of armor.  

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Debra Oliva’s work is inspired by a Samurai warrior’s suit of armor, which she saw on a visit to a museum. Impressed by the combinations of grays, blacks, and browns, as well as the patterns, textures, and fine details, Debra knew she had to work these elements into her clay work.

She does this by throwing in sections with different colored clays, painstakingly etching surface designs, and adding more color with underglazes and terra sig. In today’s post, an excerpt from the Ceramics Monthly archives, Debra explains her process. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


During a visit to a museum I discovered a Samurai warrior’s suit of armor. It was an amazing combination of woven fabrics, leather, and metal. I was taken by the subtle combinations of grays, blacks, and browns, and the relationships between the many patterns and textures, the fine details, and impeccable craftsmanship. This garment presented a clarifying moment that helped me identify the aesthetic I would follow, the elements that are important to me, and where I might look for inspiration.

1 Each color section is thrown separately. While still attached to the bat, the next section is inverted and placed on the previous section rim to rim and then cut free from the bat.

2 The sections are sealed together by throwing downward from the upper section toward the lower section without disturbing the seam.

3 After all the sections are added, final throwing and refining of the form is completed. The base of the work is trimmed in the upright position. Later it will be inverted to trim the foot.

 

Fabrication

When developing new forms, I consider the proportions of the color sections and the placement of decorative elements. Next, I make a rough drawing as a guide and go to the wheel to make a few prototypes to work out the form and get comfortable making the piece. Estimating the amount of clay I will need, I throw the bottom section and finish it with a level rim. I take a measurement of the rim diameter and set it aside while I throw the next section.

I begin the etching process at the leather-hard stage, working on a small section while keeping the rest of the piece damp and covered. My etching tools include a pin tool, pencils, scoring tools, drill bits, and serrated ribs that I cut into small pieces and insert into X-Acto blade handles (4).

4 Lines are incised using a pin tool and solid areas are etched with a tool made from pieces of serrated ribs inserted into X-Acto blade handles.

For the line work, I begin by dividing the space, making a small mark where a line will be drawn. With the piece spinning slowly on the wheel, I incise horizontal lines using a pin tool. Then I incise vertical and diagonal lines by eye. If there are elements to transfer, I use a sharp pencil and a light touch, to transfer designs from tracing paper to the leather-hard ware. I then retrace the patterns to incise them more deeply into the surface. To etch pattern areas, I use my home-made tools.

Firing and Finishing After bisque firing, I lightly sand the piece with fine grit sandpaper to remove any burrs that may still be remaining from the etching process and the dust is wiped off. I brush terra sigillata or commercial underglaze into the incised lines or areas and sponge the excess away (5). I glaze the interior with a black or clear glaze and fire the work to cone 8 in an electric kiln. After the glaze firing, I apply a durable, food-safe wax product to the unglazed exterior and buff it to a soft sheen with a shoe shine brush.

5 After bisque firing, terra sigillata or underglaze is painted over the incised areas and the excess is sponged away.

Working with clays colored with varying amounts of oxides and stains can be challenging as the color sections dry and flux differently. This may create tension between the sections, which could result in warped rims, often only becoming apparent after the final firing. These pieces are unacceptable to me; however, because of this uncertainty and inevitable loss, successful pieces are that much more rewarding.

Check out Curt Benzle’s video clip Tips and Techniques for Making your Own Colored Clay for a way to mix your own colored clays using one clay body as a base, to avoid loss due to different shrinkage rates between the clays.


**First published in 2012

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Matte Cone 6 Glazing Techniques and Recipes https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-glazing-techniques/matte-cone-6-glazing-techniques-and-recipes/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-glazing-techniques/matte-cone-6-glazing-techniques-and-recipes/#respond Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:00:13 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-glazing-techniques/matte-cone-6-glazing-techniques-and-recipes/ Donna Polseno creates beautiful buttery matte surfaces with a lot of beautiful depth, but it took a lot of experimentation to get those surfaces just right. The glaze has to  

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Donna Polseno creates beautiful buttery matte surfaces with a lot of beautiful depth, but it took a lot of experimentation to get those surfaces just right. The glaze has to melt enough to move the glazes slightly and add depth to the imagery, but not too much!

In today’s post, an except from the Ceramics Monthly archives, Donna shares what she learned about getting that perfect melt, as well as a couple of her cone 5-6 matte glaze recipes. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

 


Finding the Right Surface

My glazes are calcium-mattes that are fired in an electric kiln. The calcium is derived from wollastonite, a calcium silicate material, and from Gerstley borate, a calcium borate. I also have strontium carbonate as another matting agent in my glaze, which, like barium carbonate, enhances the colors. Wollastonite is known for forming minute calcium silicate crystals when cooling.

Many people down fire their kilns in order to slow the cooling rate to promote the formation of crystals, but I do not. My kiln is well insulated and therefore cools very slowly. Finding out that my kiln cooled slowly enough on its own to aid in the minute crystal formation was one of the lucky things I learned by chance in my goal to create mid-range glazes with the richness and visual depth that is often associated with high-fire or reduction ware.

The things that I experimented with in that quest for visual richness and depth were, first of all, layering glazes on top of each other—not only trying one or two layers, but also discovering the different effects of certain glazes over others. Some combinations create a kind of micro-crystallization. My black glaze, for instance, makes nice specks of crystals over one of my base glazes and not the others because of the differing surface tension.

A second important part of the search was finding out how different stains and oxides completely change the melt of the same base glazes and how to use that to my advantage. Part of using stains and oxides successfully at mid range in an oxidation atmosphere is using several of them in the same glaze in order to achieve a more complex look rather than a more industrial out-of-the-jar look.

The third aspect to discover was the exact thickness of each glaze that would allow me to dip up to three layers of glazes. Due to the numbers of glazes I use in my process my glazes all need to be thin. I could not live without my hydrometer. I mix each glaze to a different specific gravity. The feel of the glaze can fool me sometimes and precision is crucial to my glazes success.

The fourth variable that took experimentation was the temperature. I have fired from cone 4 to cone 7, firmly settling on cone 5. I kept searching for the right amount of melt that would soften, yet maintain my complex decorative work.

Lastly, another factor that impacts the final appearance of my glazes is the fact that I choose a clay body that has a lot of ball clay and therefore is not overly white, as many people desire, but it gives a lot of the character to the overall look of the work.

The Perfect Melt

For me it is all about the perfect melt. The glaze has to melt and move my marks and therefore have a bit of mystery as well as depth. Initially, when I started this work, I had a regular electric kiln and relied on a visual cone to judge when the firing was complete. If the glaze melted the slightest bit more than I had determined was perfect, I was distraught. The designs were too mushy. If it was a shade less than desired, I was also distraught because the marks were too stiff. I now enjoy the precision of a computerized kiln with three thermocouples. My glazing method is complex with many mundane details, but my basic process is to dip the pieces in one glaze first. I then make my various lines and marks with fine Chinese brushes using liquid Forbes wax. I sometimes paint different shapes with liquid latex before dipping a second glaze. More wax is then painted or latex peeled off, before dipping a third glaze. My glazes are naturally hard in their dry state rather than powdery and this is very useful when using resists and multiple layers. With the perfect melt, the wax resist lines actually move in on themselves so that they look even more delicate than when I painted them. The right melt gives fluidness to the marks and a subtle translucency to the layers.

Donna Polseno is an artist and educator who, along with her husband and fellow ceramic artist Richard Hensley, lives in Floyd, Virginia. See more of her work at www.donnapolseno.com.


  **First published in 2015

 

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Tips for Centering and Preventing S-Cracks in Dinner Plates https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/tips-for-centering-and-preventing-s-cracks-in-dinner-plates/ Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:00:16 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/tips-for-centering-and-preventing-s-cracks-in-dinner-plates/ Throwing large plate forms is tricky because it can be hard to master centering and spreading the clay out wide enough without either knocking it off center, or getting water  

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This clip was excerpted from Platters: Four Approaches to Making and Decorating Plates, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Shop!

Throwing large plate forms is tricky because it can be hard to master centering and spreading the clay out wide enough without either knocking it off center, or getting water trapped underneath. Then there are S-cracks. If you don’t take steps to prevent those, you might be devastated when your plate comes out of the kiln.

If you have experienced these problems, pull up a chair and watch today’s clip from our platters compilation. In this clip, Adam Field shows how to master centering and preventing s-cracks in plates. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

 


 

finiplate_500This clip was excerpted from Platters: Four Approaches to Making and Decorating Plates, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Shop!

To learn more about Adam Field or to see more images of his work, please visit www.adamfieldpottery.com.

**First published in 2014

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Image Transfer with Pyrofoto: Another Cool Way to Put Images on Pottery https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-decorating-techniques/image-transfer-with-pyrofoto-another-cool-way-to-put-images-on-pottery/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-decorating-techniques/image-transfer-with-pyrofoto-another-cool-way-to-put-images-on-pottery/#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 05:00:33 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-decorating-techniques/image-transfer-with-pyrofoto-another-cool-way-to-put-images-on-pottery/ There are various processes for transferring images to clay, from photocopy transfers, silkscreening and stencils, to laser transfer decals and commercially made decals. There is also a process that’s designed  

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There are various processes for transferring images to clay, from photocopy transfers, silkscreening and stencils, to laser transfer decals and commercially made decals. There is also a process that’s designed specifically for working with glaze. Pyrofoto is a product that works with the traditional photography concepts of exposing a surface to light through a negative, then developing, processing, and fixing the image.

Our own Jessica Knapp puts Pyrofoto to the test, and in today’s post, she tells us all about the process and her results. Take it away, Jess! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

 


 

There are various processes for transferring images to clay, from photocopy transfers, silkscreening, and stencils to laser transfer decals and commercially made decals. There is also a process that’s designed specifically for working with glaze. Pyrofoto is a product—made by Rockland Colloid (www.rockaloid.com), the makers of Liquid Light photographic emulsion—for use on glaze-fired pieces. It works with traditional photography concepts of exposing a surface to light through a negative, then developing, processing, and fixing the image. However, unlike traditional photography processes, no expensive equipment, chemicals or darkroom are needed.

How It Works

Pyrofoto is a liquid sensitizer designed to be mixed with glaze and used on a piece that has already been glaze fired. The glaze/sensitizer mix is applied to an already glaze-fired surface, and exposed to direct sunlight, a work lamp, or a high-wattage (250-watt) halogen lamp through a high-contrast transparency image. (Note: Normal household incandescent bulbs will not work as they do not provide the right wavelength.) Where the Pyrofoto mixture is exposed to light (in areas not blocked by the ink on the transparency), it hardens like a resin and becomes fixed to the surface. The pot is then wiped or sponged with cool water to dissolve away unexposed areas, leaving only the glazed image behind. The piece can then be fired again to set the image permanently.

Creating an Image

First, choose your imagery and create a black-and-white transparency using an inkjet or laser printer or copier. High-contrast photographs, illustrations or your own drawings will work best with this process, so avoid images with lots of mid tones, or alter the image using photo editing software to increase the contrast.

Make sure your printer or photocopier is set to “best quality” before printing the transparency. If ordering the transparency at an office supply store, ask for a high quality print. This ensures that the black areas, which resist the light and therefore result in unexposed areas, are saturated and opaque. Remember that the black areas of your image don’t remain once the process is finished. Think of these areas as the negative space. If you want these areas of the image to remain, alter your photo to create an inverse image; make the white areas black, and black areas white.

To create a multiple-color image, you’ll need to do one of three things. Make a separate transparency for each color, just like color separations are needed for screen printing, work with a contrast between the base glaze and your Pyrofoto/glaze mixture, or selectively apply different Pyrofoto/glaze mixtures to the piece based on the colors in your image.

Mixing & Applying Glazes

1. Mix an equal volume of Pyrofoto with a thick glaze, and brush one coat onto the glaze-fired surface. Once it dries, brush on two more coats and allow this to dry.

Once you know the colors you wish to use, mix one part of the Pyrofoto sensitizer with one part of your liquid glaze by volume. If you use powdered glaze, reconstitute it to a thick consistency first (at least as thick as slip for slip trailing). Note: Wear gloves and a respirator while working with Pyrofoto.

Tip: For best results, use a thicker glaze with high colorant concentration. Watery glaze won’t coat well. If the color or pigment isn’t strong enough, the image will be faint.

Clean your already glaze-fired piece by scrubbing with powdered laundry detergent and rinse with hot water, then dry. Prepare test tiles as well to use as exposure test strips.

2. Place a high-contrast transparency over the piece, secure it to the surface and expose for 5–15 minutes.

Apply a thin coat of sensitized glaze by brushing, then allow it to dry (figure 1). Next, apply one or more heavier coats. Dry thoroughly at room temperature. You can use a fan or a hair dryer on the cool setting, or let the pieces air dry over several hours. Note: It is much more challenging to apply Pyrofoto to three-dimensional forms. In addition to the recommended method, I also pre-heated some pieces to 200°F prior to applying the glaze to accelerate drying and avoid drips. Both methods worked, but the recommended method yielded a crisper image. Try both as your results may vary.

Exposing & Developing

Use your test strips to determine your exposure time. It will be between 5–15 minutes. My images required 15 minutes. If the unexposed areas don’t dissolve, the image is overexposed (shorten the exposure time). If all of the glaze washes off during processing, the image is underexposed (increase the exposure time).

Position the transparency onto your piece (figure 2). For flat tiles, the exposure time will be straightforward and based on your test strips. If you’re working on a curved surface, the time may be different if not all areas can be exposed at the same time. Set up multiple light sources, or add the image and expose it in sections.

3. Gently wipe away unexposed areas using a damp sponge. The image will gradually appear.

After exposing the image, develop it by gently sponging or wiping with cool tap water (figure 3). Don’t use a lot of water as this will dissolve the image. I used a damp sponge. The unexposed areas, which look lighter or slightly greenish-yellow in color n comparison with the rest of the glaze, will gradually dissolve. It may take several minutes for the image to appear. Don’t brush or sponge aggressively as this may damage the image. For detailed areas, use a small, cut piece of sponge to remove the unexposed glaze. Note: The unexposed glaze should be collected in a bucket rather than allowed to go down the drain. Like other used glaze materials, it should be disposed of properly or fired in a waste bowl like other glaze scraps to render it inert.

When all of the unexposed areas are removed, blot and dry the image. If you want, you can apply a second color and repeat the process. When the glaze dries, fire the piece to the appropriate temperature.

The cup shown here has a shiny base and a shiny transparent Pyrofoto/glaze. It was fired to cone 4.

Pyrofoto can be purchased directly from the Rockland Colloid website, or by phone at 503-655-4152. Many of the company’s products are also sold through photo supply stores.

 


**First published in 2011

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Artist Q&A: Meet Kathi LeSueur https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/artist-qa-meet-kathi-lesueur/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/artist-qa-meet-kathi-lesueur/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:35:14 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/artist-qa-meet-kathi-lesueur/ Ceramic Arts Daily: How do you make a living as a ceramic artist? What is the best advice you have for someone just starting their ceramic business?

Kathi LeSueur: I’ve made my  

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Ceramic Arts Daily: How do you make a living as a ceramic artist? What is the best advice you have for someone just starting their ceramic business?

Kathi LeSueur: I’ve made my living as a potter for 40 years. It is far harder now than in the past because the associated expenses of art fairs are much higher and sales have declined dramatically. I participated in the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair in 1995. My sales totaled three times as much as a friend, who exhibited at this same show last summer. This is not an isolated story. Art fair sales have declined everywhere.

I wholesaled for 20 years. In the past, stores would place their orders at the beginning of the year and also put in reserves. Now, many stores want items to be ready to ship whenever they run out. Christmas is especially bad when they sell all of their inventory four weeks before the holiday and want a new batch of work.

For any potter wanting to make a living, make sure you know your costs. Selling $2000 at a show doesn’t mean you made $2000. Subtract all of your expenses for the show. That gives your profit before deducting the cost of goods sold (clay, glazes, firings, etc). Now, what have you made? Divide that number by the days it took to do the show, pack up day, set up day, sales day, recovery day. If you still are making at least $10 an hours you have a good start.

Spread your risk. Sell at shows, shops, farmer’s markets, and online. Be everywhere. A little here and there adds up. If you decide to wholesale your work, be sure the shop can sell it at the price they need to make a profit. Wholesale is usually 50% of the retail price. For wholesale, I always set my prices to make sure I make a profit in that venue. Deduct the retail expenses you’ll know really fast which shows and shops are worth pursuing.

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Making a Large Sectional Vase with a Twist https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/making-a-large-sectional-vase-with-a-twist/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/making-a-large-sectional-vase-with-a-twist/#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:00:53 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/making-a-large-sectional-vase-with-a-twist/ Throwing in sections is a fantastic way to make large work. Rather than trying to muscle a lot of clay into center and pull a tall form, you can divide  

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Throwing in sections is a fantastic way to make large work. Rather than trying to muscle a lot of clay into center and pull a tall form, you can divide the clay into manageable quantities.

In today’s post, an excerpt from his book Throwing, Richard Phethean takes this process a step further. He ovals the top section to make the pot more interesting. He also shows us an unconventional handle technique. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

 


Making an Articulated Form

This is a sectional form that also has an articulation or change of direction at the join. My innovation here is to cut the top section in such a way as to make the join almost “universal‚” positioned and tilting in any direction you wish.

 


Throw like a pro!
Order your copy of Richard Phethean’s Throwing, the essential companion for anyone attempting to master the art of forming pots on the wheel.
Read more and download a free excerpt!

 

  1. The base section has been cut at an angle and fixed to a new slab base.
  2. Centre the top section and fix it to a clay pad. Insert a needle or a tool with the point bent upwards to imitate the angle of the shoulder it will sit on through the wall (here I am using a broken ribbon tool). Hold it firmly in position and rotate the wheel slowly.
  3. Position, mark and remove the top section. Dampen, score and slurry the top of the base section where the join will be. Then place the top section into position and bed the base with a slight twisting motion.

 

Adding a handle

In the images above, I am adding a pressed handle shape. I have used this method to make a smaller handle for a mug, even though pulled or extruded handles are traditionally used on thrown vessels.

  1. Roll out a tapered coil and form it into the desired shape. Place a thick stick below the coil and a thin one above it.
  2. Place a bat over the coil and press it flat.
  3. Thanks to the different thicknesses of the sticks, the pressed shape is thicker where it will join the vessel, making it both stronger and more aesthetically pleasing.
  4. Allow the handle to stiffen adequately before using a metal kidney to cut the handle shape to fit the contours of the form. Then offer the handle up to the wall and mark the join. Prepare both surfaces well before joining.

 


**First published in 2012

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Pottery Video of the Week: Creating Layers of Surface Detail with Texture Stenciling https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/clay-tools/decorating-tools/pottery-video-of-the-week-creating-layers-of-surface-detail-with-texture-stenciling/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/clay-tools/decorating-tools/pottery-video-of-the-week-creating-layers-of-surface-detail-with-texture-stenciling/#comments Fri, 14 Jul 2017 05:00:48 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/clay-tools-and-equipment/decorating-tools/pottery-video-of-the-week-creating-layers-of-surface-detail-with-texture-stenciling/ When most of us think of stenciling on pottery, we probably think of laying down a stencil and painting over it with an underglaze or a glaze. But since clay  

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This clip was excerpted from Creative Forming with Custom Texture, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Daily Shop!

When most of us think of stenciling on pottery, we probably think of laying down a stencil and painting over it with an underglaze or a glaze. But since clay is malleable, we don’t have to stop there!

In today’s video, an excerpt from her DVD Creative Forming with Custom Texture, (which is on sale this weekend!) Amy Sanders shares her technique of texture stenciling. What a fabulous idea! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

 


To learn more about Amy Sanders or to see more images of her work, please visit http://theretherepottery.blogspot.com/.

**First published in 2011

* sale ends 7/19/17 at 7 am EDT

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3 Professional Studio Potters Share Advice For Aspiring Ceramic Artists https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/3-professional-studio-potters-share-advice-aspiring-ceramic-artists/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/3-professional-studio-potters-share-advice-aspiring-ceramic-artists/#comments Wed, 12 Jul 2017 05:00:43 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/3-professional-studio-potters-share-advice-aspiring-ceramic-artists/ The insights that self-employed studio potters share about the decisions that made their careers possible are always informative. That is why Ceramics Monthly focuses on working studio potters in the June/July/August issue  

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The insights that self-employed studio potters share about the decisions that made their careers possible are always informative. That is why Ceramics Monthly focuses on working studio potters in the June/July/August issue every year. That is also why I excerpted snippets from the issue on Ceramic Arts Daily!

In today’s post, an excerpt from this year’s edition of the working potters issue oCeramics Monthly, Hitomi and Takuro Shibata and Josh Manning share their stories about how their careers developed. Enjoy! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


Great Tips for Establishing a Studio Pottery Business

by Hitomi and Takuro Shibata and Josh Manning 

Initial Reasoning by Josh Manning

Pottery found me in high school as a rather indifferent kid. I was disinterested in anything related to school. When I encountered something that did not rely on the mundane basics of education, I thought, “this could be something for me.” In addition, there were legit folks in the community making a living working with clay who called themselves, of all things, potters. This was a big deal, and still is, because I knew that making pots was a real possibility. Of course, I did not account for any of the difficulties, challenges, and simple realities of being a potter; I just wanted to be one. Honestly, I was just so jazzed to find something that worked for me. My teachers recognized this and allowed me access to the art room whenever possible.

From that point on, my path, however meandering, was set to become a potter. I visited local studios, did some work exchange for studio access and got accepted into Virginia Tech pursuing a BFA in studio art. Again, I was fortunate to have professors that embraced my goal to become a potter. They opened their studio life up to me, which I greatly appreciated back then and even more so now that I understand the value of studio time.

A Bit of Advice to Offer

If I could offer a bit of advice to anyone interested in this profession it would be: keep a low overhead and be a sponge. Absorb as much as possible—any and every bit of ceramics education will come in handy, especially the technical information. There is so much to learn about ceramic history and material, as well as the chemistry of clay, glaze, and heat. It can be very tempting to ignore the fundamentals and muddle through the process with some success until ultimately, it just beats you down due to technical faults, material changes, or kiln circumstances. Any one of those factors gone unchecked can eventually unravel a potter; troubleshooting is critical.



Use your electric kiln to its highest potential!
This fourth edition of Electric Kiln Ceramics, has been completely rewritten, reorganized, and expanded by Frederick Bartolovic. Loaded with new color images that highlight some of the most beautiful results possible with electric firing, the new edition features step-by-step instruction on forming and finishing pieces for electric firing, schedules for firing both manual and computerized kilns, and even glazing techniques and recipes to try out in your electric kiln.

 


 

The Most Difficult Decision by Hitomi and Takuro Shibata

In 2001, Hitomi was offered a Rotary International Scholarship to study at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. We made the big decision to close our studio in Shigaraki for two years and moved to Massachusetts in October 2001. Following my study at UMass-Dartmouth, Takuro and I were invited by Randy Edmonson, Professor Emeritus of Art at Longwood University to give a workshop and lecture at the university, in Farmville, Virginia, in 2002. It led us to become two of the four resident artists during the inaugural year of the residency program at the Cub Creek Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Appomattox, Virginia. After the residency,  we traveled through Europe briefly on our return to Shigaraki. We loved our travels and were really attracted to Seagrove, North Carolina, where we had visited our friends, Nancy Gottovi and David Stuempfle. Sometime after our return to Shigaraki, Nancy, who is Executive Director of Central Park NC/ STARworks, offered Takuro an opportunity to help establish STARworks Ceramics. We made a life-changing decision to permanently close our studio in Shigaraki, sell all of our equipment and, with three suitcases and one cat, move to Seagrove, North Carolina, in 2005. Takuro began work at STARworks Ceramics and I took a two-year resident-artist position at the North Carolina Pottery Center.

We purchased property between Ben Owen’s Pottery and Jugtown Pottery and established Studio Touya in historic Seagrove in 2007. We renovated an outbuilding into a rustic studio and a small house into a sales shop. We recently built a new home for our family of four. Our pots are fired in a Shigaraki-style anagama with an additional chamber. I recently built a small wood kiln designed by Estonian kiln builder Andres Allik, who helped with the construction.

Advice

It takes time, money, and lots of energy to set up your own pottery studio and business. You need skill, tenacity, intellectual curiosity, and an old-fashioned work ethic. You need to read, you need to travel. You may need to go to school, work as an apprentice, complete a residency, or take on a part-time job. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It is challenging, but there are many opportunities in many places for a young potter. Our field is full of welcoming, generous people.

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How to Create Agateware Pottery Using Colored Clays and a Plaster Press Mold https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-supplies/pottery-clay/how-to-create-agateware-pottery-using-colored-clays-and-a-plaster-press-mold/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 05:00:42 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-supplies/pottery-clay/how-to-create-agateware-pottery-using-colored-clays-and-a-plaster-press-mold/ Agateware pottery features swirling marbleized colors and was probably first developed to imitate the qualities of agate, a semiprecious stone with striated patterning. These swirling effects can be created either  

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agate
Agateware pottery features swirling marbleized colors and was probably first developed to imitate the qualities of agate, a semiprecious stone with striated patterning. These swirling effects can be created either by throwing with a prepared mixture of colored clays, or by working with thin slabs of colored clay that has been layered to create patterns. In today’s post, Michelle Erickson and Robert Hunter demonstrate how to create agateware using the latter of these techniques. Glazing isn’t the only way to create sweet surfaces! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

P.S. If you’re interested in the wheel-thrown version of this technique, check out How to Make Agateware Vessels on the Pottery Wheel in the Ceramic Arts Daily Features Archive.


Preparing the Clay

Making agateware is a complicated process; the marbling, instead of being produced on the surface, goes through the body and it requires a different set of skills other than just competent throwing. The initial preparation of clay is the key for creating laid agateware (figure 1). If using naturally colored clays, do tests first to be sure the clays are compatible. The shrinkage rates and firing temperatures need to be the same. Additional considerations include the density, plasticity, elasticity, and strength. The clay slabs are first stacked in a selected sequence (figure 2). Rather than wedging, the stacks are slammed onto a hard surface to elongate and consequently thin the slabs (figure 3). The process continues with cutting and restacking the slabs, thinning and increasing the numbers of layers (figures 4, 5, and 6). The ultimate success of the agate patterning lies in the care taken at this initial stage. If you want more colors in your agate pattern, the three color clay slabs can be prepared in the same way. Once the layered slabs are made, they are trimmed to equal rectangular sizes (figure 7).

Piecing Together a Pattern

After these slabs of thinly layered clays are prepared, they are rolled into tight coils (figure 8). These coils are then arranged, sometimes by alternating colors (figure 9), and carefully pressed into a single mass (figure 10). From this amalgamated mass, thin slabs are then cut and arranged on a flat surface to begin forming a sheet (figures 11 and 12). At this point, the outcome of the agate striations can be controlled by the placement of the slabs. Once a reconstituted clay sheet is made (figure 13), it is cut into strips and reassembled to emulate the arbitrary nature of the agate pattern (figure 14). Examination of antique pots suggests that such strips were cut and rearranged several times on both a horizontal and vertical plane or orientation. In working through his technique, it is clear that a number of variations are possible through the deliberate arrangement of the agate pattern.

 

For the demonstration, the patterning of the agate has been left moderately coarse so that is it easily observable in the photographs (figure 15). The slab is now usable.

Creating the Forms

Once a suitable agate pattern is created, the thin sheet of clay is ready for molding. In most cases, it appears that all elements of laid agateware were created by press molding (figures 16 and 17). This process requires a separate plaster or clay mold for each component of a pot. This would include the body, foot rim or feet, lid, finial, spout, and handles. As with the thrown agate, joins may show smearing, or distortion. The teapot shown here uses two-piece molds for the pecten shell body, spout, handle, and Fo Lion finial (figure 18). These molds were taken from original master models sculpted by Michelle Erickson.

Once the two halves of each part of the teapot are pressed in separate molds, they are ready to be joined. The edges are lightly scored and moistened. The two molds are aligned, and the seam is closed by working from the inside through the opening in the neck (figure 19). The exterior seam is cleaned up, then the spout, handle, and any other added elements are attached to the body (figure 20). For lidded forms, keep the lid on during the drying process. If necessary, line the rim or gallery of the pot or lid with a sheet of paper to keep the two from sticking together. Once dried, it is possible to enhance the agate surface with a light scrubbing using the equivalent of a fine steel wool; however, any heavy smudging or distortion cannot be altered. Once dry, the pot is bisque fired, glazed, and fired again.

Conclusion

A rich opportunity exists to further study the production history of English agateware. The laid agate technique is an extremely complicated procedure. Indeed, the replication of the processes presented here required nearly two years of trial and error research.

For laid agate, although the patterning is often described as random, we have concluded that it is very deliberate. This deliberateness can be seen in a variety of other agate patterns that have yet to be fully classified.

Without question, agateware can generate a kaleidoscopic effect that some may find dizzying. A fierce competition for antique examples exists among a small cadre of collectors—past and present. Perhaps this fact alone substantiates the often heard claim that agateware is considered “the ultimate refinement of the potter’s art.” We hope this demonstration has provided some insight into the mysteries of the potter’s art and that new research on the history of agateware can be conducted with fresh eyes.

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How to make a salt and pepper cellar from one wheel-thrown cylinder https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/make-salt-pepper-cellar-one-wheel-thrown-cylinder/ https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/make-salt-pepper-cellar-one-wheel-thrown-cylinder/#comments Fri, 07 Jul 2017 05:00:21 +0000 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/make-salt-pepper-cellar-one-wheel-thrown-cylinder/ Salt and pepper shakers are a popular project for ceramic artists and they can be a lot of fun too because of the challenge of making the two pieces relate  

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This clip was excerpted from Elevating the Handmade with Julia Galloway, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Daily Shop!

Start with a wheel thrown base, end up with a two-chambered pot!

Salt and pepper shakers are a popular project for ceramic artists and they can be a lot of fun too because of the challenge of making the two pieces relate to one another. Less common but no less fun are salt and pepper cellars – the kind that you take pinches of salt and pepper from, rather than shake. you could say these are even more fun because they have more components to work with.

Julia Galloway added the challenge of making her salt and pepper cellars one piece. In today’s video clip, an excerpt from her new video Elevating the Handmade: Creating Pottery with Personal Meaning, Julia shows how she starts with a bottomless wheel thrown cylinder and ends up with a two-chambered salt and pepper cellar. Be sure to watch to the end! You won’t be disappointed. — Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


To learn more about Julia Galloway or to see more images of her work, please visit www.juliagalloway.com.


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